NEWSFLASH: Talking Up Reproductive Rights in Geneva

U.S. activists are in Geneva, Switzerland, talking to members of the U.N. Human Rights Council trying to convince them to include sexual and reproductive rights in the definition of human rights. The Council’s Working Group will meet this Friday, November 5, to review the report of the United States [pdf] on the status of human rights in this country.

“It’s like lobbying Congress,” said Renee Chelian, an abortion provider in  Southfield, Mich. “You chase them down the hall” and talk to them about the issue. Chelian will join representatives of other NGOs in lobbying for inclusion of sexual and reproductive rights in the report.

She didn’t have to chase everyone down; some members came to the panel discussion at a side event sponsored by the Center for Reproductive Rights. It “was well attended and the audience was very engaged with the speakers,” reported Michelle Movahed, staff attorney for the U.S. program at the Center.

The review session on Friday will take three hours–during which time the U.S. will present its report and NGOs will line up to make two-minute recommendations.

“It won’t end on Friday,” said Movahed. “The Working Group will formally adopt the report,” but there will still be opportunities for comments and recommendations for action before the full Human Rights Council adopts the report of the Working Group in March, 2011.

Photo of Geneva by Flickr user Damian Morys Foto under license from Creative Commons 2.0

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